Pak, Iran to enhance trade ties, Senate told

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Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir told the Senate on Friday that Pakistan was comprehensively engaged with Iran to enhance the bilateral trade and economic relations.

Speaking during the question-hour, the minister said that the bilateral relations with Iran had witnessed an impetus following Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the brotherly country in May 2014.

Dastgir said the two countries had committed to enhance bilateral trade to $5 billion, adding that the government was working on several important projects with Iran, including gas pipeline and import of electricity.

He further told the Senate that the government was in the process of finalising a deal for the construction of phase-1 of the gas pipeline project from Gwadar to Nawabshah. He said that in the second phase, the remaining 80 kilometres of the pipeline would be constructed as soon as the sanctions on Iran were lifted.

The minister said that Pakistan would also enhance import of electricity from Iran to 100 megawatt from the existing 74 megawatt this month.

Speaking on her turn, Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar told the Senate that the drug regulatory authority had been activated to ensure quality of medicines.

She said it was for the first time in the country’s history that a mechanism had been developed to check the prices of medicines. She said action had also been taken against the pharmaceutical companies producing or selling substandard medicines.

Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

The bill, moved by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, seeks amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

The chair referred three other bills, the Electoral Rolls Amendment Bill, 2015; Delimitation of Constituencies Amendment Bill and Patents Amendment Bill, to the standing committees concerned for further deliberations.